The Kansas City Royals started their 2016 the same way they ended their 2015 World Series victory, playing the New York Mets. On Sunday, April 3 the Royals hosted the Mets at Kauffman Stadium for the season opener. The teams’ game looked a lot like one they might have played in the fall, with the Royals beating the Mets 4-3. During the banner ceremony, Morales picked up his Silver Slugger Award; Hosmer, Perez and Alcides Escobar received their Gold Gloves. Now that the Royals had won and the banner had been hung, the Mets would still have to endure one more reminder of their shortcoming last fall: the Royals handed out their championship rings the following Tuesday.
This was the first time that the opposing teams from the previous World Series were playing each other on opening day, and it happened by chance. The schedule was set in September before the Mets had even clinched a spot in the playoffs.
Kansas City’s Edinson Volquez held the Mets scoreless for six innings. However, the Mets managed to score three in the later innings. The pitcher for the Mets, Harvey, looked sharp at times, but the Royals slowly wore him down, hitting singles and making smart base-running decisions. In the fourth inning, Lorenzo Cain and Hosmer hit back-to-back singles, and Cain took an extra base.
After the opening game, the Royals continue to have a strong start to their season. The Royals are currently tied for first place with the White Sox in the American League Central (ALC) with a 6-2 record. However, they are not expected to maintain this lead. The Royals are projected to win 79 games by FanGraphs, which would put them tied for third in the ALC with the Detroit Tigers. The Cleveland Indians, 85-77, and Chicago White Sox, 81-81, are projected to be ahead of the Royals.
But there is still hope. It happened last season. The Royals were predicted to win 72 games. Pretty much every stat-based outlet predicted them to have a losing record, and nearly every source had them missing the playoffs. Despite those odds, the Royals won 95 games and topped off a successful season by taking the World Series in five games.